Blog Series

Character Development

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How to Write a Novel Blog Series:

Last week in my How To Write a Novel blog series I talked about brainstorming and developing your ideas. Today, I’m going to focus on developing your characters.

Every story needs characters. These are people we can relate to or despise, who help us to live the plot through our own eyes. Learn how to develop your characters here!

What kind of characters do you need?

Every story needs characters. These are people we can relate to or despise, who help us to live the plot through our own eyes.

The Protagonist, usually the โ€œheroโ€, is the person we root for, whose victories we claim as our own.

The Antagonist is usually known as the villain, the one we fear will make our protagonist lose everything.

Every story has at least a protagonist and an antagonist; except for stories where the antagonist is an idea, situation, or establishment as opposed to an actual person.

Most great stories have around twenty characters. That’s right, twenty! These include secondary and supporting characters: the family, friends, and neighbors who fill your world and help readers understand and relate in a way that just isn’t created through simple narration.

You may already have a vision of who you want your protagonist and antagonist to be. Hopefully, you were able to come up with ideas for your characters and situations to put them in while brainstorming.

Now the fun part.

Put yourself in their shoes, look through their eyes.

Who would they see throughout the day?

Who would they interact with?

Where would they work or how would they spend their day?

By now you should have a few more characters who want to live in your story.

Now, think about life from the antagonist’s point-of-view. Who would this person surround themselves with, or be forced to be surrounded by?

Once you’ve got a good list of characters started it’s time to look over these 100+ questions in the Best Character Questionnaire Ever. Who knows, you may even find inspiration for more characters with the help of these questions.

When you know how your characters look, act, and relate to the world around them, it’s time to start examining their relationships with the other characters in your story.

*How would they get along?

*Who would definitely not get along, and why?

*What personality/ cultural/ status differences may cause problems between characters?

Next, you must give your characters a unique voice. Everyone speaks differently. Obviously, two characters may speak different dialects if they come from different parts of the world; but you must also remember they may have different tones, speech patterns, accents, stutters, and impediments, etc..

Think about where your characters come from, their cultures, wealth, and status when considering voice.

Your secondary characters may not need as much backstory as your MC’s, but in order for your characters to be relatable to readers, your protagonist and antagonist must also have goals, needs, wants, desires, and most importantly, flaws. These cannot be perfect people. We strive for perfection, we do not relate to it.

How do you develop your characters?

Share your tips in the comments, and be sure to follow me for more writing tips, poetry, novels, and more!

More in the How To Write A Novel series:

Brainstorming

World Development

Research

Outlining

Drafting

First Read Through

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